No one ever really thinks it could happen to them. No one ever wants tragedy, difficulty, or struggle to be a part of their story. However we don’t always choose the chapters that come out int our stories, do we?
In May of this year, my family got some news. After months of increased body aches, soreness, difficulty with working out, and a variation of other problems, my dad was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Multiple Myeloma. Myeloma is fairly common…except for the kind my dad has. He has the rare one. There is plenty I don’t understand or know about cancer, but what I have learned is that no matter how healthy someone can be, cancer can choose whoever it wants. My dad is a marathoner, regularly works out, a busy pastor, and getting his Doctorate. Yeah, sure, my dad has had other health issues over the years, but we never expected this…
I have known so many people to have lost someone to the battle of cancer. I have known plenty who have had victory in their battle. For my family, for my dad, the fight continues on.
My heart is saddened this morning, as it was last night, when I learned of the death of Brittany Maynard, the 29-year old girl who “died with dignity” according to state law that allowed her assisted suicide. This is not a discussion on Brittany and her suicide. [please respect the fact that this blog is not here for debate…I will delete any inappropriate or rude comments regarding her death]. This is simply me saying how proud I am of my dad for being courageous with staying in the fight. It would break my family’s heart if he ended his life on purpose. And I am saddened for her family.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, my dad goes into the hospital for several weeks. He will first get chemo that will destroy his immune system. Once that part of the process is over, the doctors will begin a stem cell transplant [stem cells from his own body]. This next month will look very different for us. Honestly, we don’t really know what it will look like, but we know its part of our new normal. That’s what I was told by a few of my dear friends who have loved and sometimes lost someone to cancer: this is our new normal. For now, for however long we have to, this is part of our story. It is something that God will get us through.
I firmly believe that God can give us strength, perseverance, and steadfast faith through this entire process, regardless of the outcome. I also believe that if God wanted to make it part of this story, he could absolutely heal my dad- I have no doubt in my mind. However, sometimes our stories become ones that, when we face them, we are made stronger, we are pushed, we might be broken, we might stretched, but we can overcome. I can’t explain why God doesn’t heal everyone. I can’t explain why cancer happens or why bad things happen to good people. But I believe and love God with all my heart, and I believe that God will be with my family during this new normal. I have seen God give me a strange peace since day one of finding out about my dad. Yes I love my dad and this makes me sad, but I have a peace that I cannot explain and can only give credit to God.
Yeah, so my family didn’t choose cancer. Yes, we didn’t want this to be a part of our story. But in the light of the things we cannot choose, we still have choices left. When faced with difficulty, struggle, frustrating circumstance, unexplainable, even painful things, we- you and I- can choose to smile. We can choose to fight. We can choose to not be destroyed by these things. We can choose to still love people despite what others might do to us. We can choose to forgive. Choose to have compassion. We can choose to see the brighter side of the story. I believe God has purpose for things. I believe that God is a part of this story. I may not understand it, but I trust him and love him with all of my heart. So with my love, I choose to hope and believe that everything is alright. The story isn’t over.